The world is crazier than most people know. But I know. I was a clinical social worker for forty years. I am a witness. I retired from social work to write about the sad, the mad, and the savage; with whom I have spent most of my life. I have decided to translate these stories into fiction, because, as a co-worker once said, "You couldn't make this sh*t up. No one would believe you."

Saturday, July 31, 2010


I discovered the absolute truth of aging: it is skin. Not your brain, you can keep that sharp by using it. Not your muscle tone, you can keep that up with exercise. Not your endurance, if you made it this far you are tougher than a witch’s brass bra.

It’s your skin. Sixty four years and uncounted sums spent on skin creams later, I have discovered the truth: of all the body systems, skin is independent.

Friday, July 30, 2010


(Besides your ass, of course) Suppose the great grandmother of all forest fires sets your house on fire. What would you do?

I would grab the animals, some dog and cat food, my computer, my little “important papers” safe, my toothbrush, and my purse. (The computer is the equivalent of grabbing the family photo album.)

So what I’m asking is, what’s important?

Saturday, July 24, 2010


I am so happy my mouth has two sides. Like most baby boomers, I have expertise in talking out of both. Now after my rant about looking young, I will mention two of the best looking people I have ever seen:


My hair was black. Now it is over half gray. The entire front of my head is gray and the back is almost all black but with a few silver threads.

If I went natural I could probably start a new trend.

But I refuse to look like a two tone Chevy from the fifties.

Friday, July 23, 2010


…in the sense that she is flattened. That’s what living in this cockeyed world does to you, man; more days than not.

I don’t know if the world is harsher or I’m just wiser. Crap! Getting older is a pain in the a**. I know there’s a recession (hah!~--it’s Depression II, the Sequel) but when it comes home and is standing right on my big toe, I feel the pinch. I mean, most baby boomers have lived long enough to have seen a few downturns; but this one seems to bring out the STUPID gene in people, especially my public servant bosses.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


I feel bad about my thighs.

I watched The Closer and saw Keira Knightly, who is fifty-something, dancing around on her bed in her underwear, and man does she have great thighs. If I danced around on my bed, my thighs’ dimples would make little rainbow reflections on the walls.

And my knees are wrinkled. I remember the days when we wore skirts so short our underpants were embarrassed, and my knees carried themselves with pride. Not a wrinkle, not a lump, those glamorous gams took to the street with style. I was a flower child extraordinaire, hair and skirt met somewhere around my ass and I was hot, baby, I was smokin’. Now my game…is lame.

I hate summer: when it’s too hot to wear stockings and cover up the…uh…imperfections. I have to go barelegged like the twenty something’s and the Keira Knightlys. Crap! I slather my legs with fake bake and pray to hide the scar I got from chopping wood last winter in gym shorts (don’t ask!). But the thighs….let’s just say the skirt is long enough to hide the offenders.


Time marches on….and on, and on. We baby boomers, the shapers of the sixties, the movers of a nation, are evolving into old farts, just like the parents we swore we would never be like. (Hah!)

I am a sixty four year old woman. What comes to mind? Sags, bags, bulges, wrinkles, gray hair, age spots, varicose veins. So what am I doing with a good figure, dark brown hair, freckles that haven’t blended yet into age spots, and almost no wrinkles? What am I doing with joie de vivre, energy, desire for sex, and a raunchy sense of humor? What am I doing, period?

I still work. I plan to work until I’m seventy, because I have to. I have squat for retirement and zilch for investments so there you are. But I don’t feel so bad. Everyone I know is working to seventy. Even those who retired, are finding theyhave to go back to work. May as well, since we’ll all probably live to be ninety. Not a snowball’s chance in hell Social Security will take us there. I was planning to sell my house to finance my retirement, but…..we all know what happened there.


 I define my family a bit differently from many people. The animals who live with me are as much a part of my family as the people. I do not invite them in or send them off lightly. My sister’s dog died today, and it is a blow to the whole family.

He was a member of my family for fifteen years. His name was Ethan Allen. For fifteen years, this wonderful mutt was there for my sister, as well as the extended family. He stayed with me on her vacations, as my dogs stayed with her. They were as thrilled as children to see each other, knowing they were in for an afternoon of play, treats, and driving the humans crazy coming in and out. Until recent years, when age took his hearing, he was a world class howler. My daughter, who is a world class singer, used to sing along with him when she was a teenager and taught him to change keys so that he could howl in tune. Wherever he went he left a little love glitter and a hairball.


FROM: “The Maturity Manifesto: A Hard Look at the Golden Years”  (The Maturity Manifesto)
Question: How can one drown in good advice on retirement, and still not be able to retire?
Answer: One is broke.
If one picked the wrong job, married the wrong person, made some financial mistakes, worked for small companies that offered zilch for retirement, had a medical disaster, was divorced or widowed and now finds oneself facing “the golden years” alone…one might read the retirement advice with the angst of the outsider.
This is one who is guilty of not having kept up with the rising cost of everything enough to put aside a nest egg for retirement. This one feels ashamed. Anxious, too.
And this one….is many.

Opening words (fighting words?) from "The Maturity Manifesto.”  Okay, not everyone is poor. But not every one of us is rich, either.

Even if you were sensible and fortunate and put away a nest egg, you may be amazed at how paltry that little treasure seems today. I remember back when we thought 250K was a lot of money: twenty years ago, a friend claimed she would have “a quarter of a million” upon retirement and the rest of us were slobbering with envy. Today that friend is pushing seventy, still working, and broke after an old house and three children from a deceased ex-spouse and his last wife ate up the 250K with barely a burp.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


CHECK IT OUT: Several facts have emerged in the course of Kauffman Foundation research that indicate the United States might be on the cusp of an entrepreneurship boom—not in spite of an aging population but because of it. This study shows that as the economic recession plagues the job market, more and more "baby-boomers" are becoming entrepreneurs. The decline of lifetime employment, the experience and knowledge of the age group, longer lifespan, and the effect of the current recession are all factors contributing to the increase in entrepreneurial activity in the baby boom generation. The study was conducted by Dane Stangler, senior analyst at the Kauffman Foundation.  ---The Kaufman Foundation, “The Coming Entrepreneurship Boom”

Holy Hannah! This is it! The way out of the how-the-f*** am I gonna retire with one week’s pay in my pocket blues” oh yeah!

Baby boomers: remember when our kids were born? Some of us were married to guys who could support families…but not very many. By the time we were breeding our brains out, inflation had roared onto the scene and trickle down economics got stuck in the drain pipe. Remember trying to afford formula?


Bette Davis said, “getting old is not for sissies.” Truer words, man.
Getting old is debilitating and wisdom takes the surprise out of living. But…there’s no escape. Baby boomers are cresting the hill.
Aside from finding a Fountain of Youth, marrying a plastic surgeon, or experiencing the rejuvenating thrill of seeing some raging demagogue burst a blood vessel and die on camera, we are stuck with advancing decrepitude. Bullsh*t aside, what should we do?

     Opinion: Get a rocking chair, climb in it, and wait to die.
     Opinion: Get a motorhome, drive till you can’t, and wait to die.
     Opinion: Stay in your home, hire help, and wait to die. (Good luck, rich bitch!)
     Opinion: Find a way to boogie, boogie till you can’t, and wait to die.

I vote for Option 4. Of course, there is that undeniable theme running through it all, you know, that bit about dying. Even baby boomers die.

I have a personal opinion about that: why worry about dying?---you’re gonna.  It’s as certain as gravity. So see? there’s nothing to worry about.


This is what I think of when I lie awake nights:

1.     Why isn’t plastic surgery free?
2.     Why don’t we power the world with sh*t? Talk about renewable…
3.     Why do men look better as they age?

1.     If it is a given that half the world gets ugly, why do we not have a means to deal with it? Personally I think people look their best in their mid thirties to mid forties. In a just world, we would all get there and stop. Of course we would die at the appointed time, but we would look and feel good until the moment came. So good doctors out there, get busy! To hell with biological immortality, who in the name of all that is sensible would want to live forever? I’m only sixty four and it’s already boring! You medical researchers need to put your energy into a pill that will arrest aging at 35 and hold it there until 100 or so, when we can all peacefully fall apart. And until that happens, I have a message for all you lowlife insurance companies out there....plastic surgery should be FREE!

HALLMARKS OF OLD FARTITUTDE 102: One response to brokitude...

1. Baby we’re broke. My retirement account went bust in the market.
We can sell the house.
We can give it back to the bank with a thank you note.
We’ll get Social Security.
As long as it’s there, let's dig it!

2. It’s cold here in the woods.
The campfire’s nice.
The supper you cooked on it was the best ever.
I’m cold.
It’s warm in the truck.
I’ll set up the bed.
I took Viagra.
Cold? What cold?


It’s not that my self esteem is low (I am sometimes accused of the opposite), but I do seem to be a square peg in a round hole a lot of the time. Maybe this is the boomer curse.

I mean, most people my age look a lot older than I do. Most people my age work out gently; I work out the same as I did when I was thirty five (Wait---when I was thirty five I was too cool and cute to work out---okay say forty five). Most people my age are sedate. I still want to howl, at least now and then.

Sunday, July 18, 2010


Okay, so check out this link: but make sure you have a barf bag at the ready.
This kid thinks old is ugly. He thinks that aging hippies should not go to school or live life publicly.
I think he should be cursed by the universe to never get laid again until he is 65, and then only with women older than himself.
This is for you, bestpageintheuniverse: You suck. I mean, you suck really, really badly. You shallow little turd, you can only tolerate sleek and beautiful, here is what I wish for you:
  • You get progeria, only you don’t die from it. You just look old for your entire life.
  • Your grandmother invites you to a cookout and she is wearing shorts.
  • Your grandfather decides to take classes at a university to keep his mind sharp, and he gets smarter than you.
  • Girls your own age will not date you, unless they are obese or deformed.
  • You get propositioned daily by wrinkly older women.
With love but without a shred of respect, Janey B, who is 64.


Recently I wrote about my daughter’s (okay, the truth is out) experience in an oldster’s bar. (See: a pre-life crisis) It made me think, and I’m still thinking.
Magical Mystery Tour: IMAGINE:
There is a yellow brick road that leads to a saloon. It is a very special saloon. It is built of stone, so that it looks charming and no one can shoot through the walls. Lush vines grow over the stones and flowers bloom on the sacred pathway to the front door. Beside the entrance are troughs for the very drunk to puke in before they stumble home. The troughs are labeled, “Shame on you, you out of control jackass.”


I just read a post from a youngster, see Pre-Life Crisis, in which two young women visiting a bar populated by "old" folks (50+) were repelled by the notion of older people fooling around in bars. I'm not sure why. I can only figure that young people, for some reason, don't look as stupid when they fall off sofas drunk or nuzzle up to one another.
It's about beauty, plain and simple. It's about what we think is beautiful. Youth is beautiful, and shenanigans are cute. Age is beautiful only if it is sedate. Here's what I think about that:
Don't get me wrong; being sedate is fine, if you're tired, bored, or in church. But what about when you want to have some fun? Are we too ugly to be foolish and have some shenanigans?


There’s nothing new under the sun. Here’s your proof:
Co-housing is a small, highly interactive community in which participation is highly valued, but where there are no religious, political or ideological requirements. Typically, residents live in private, fully equipped apartments or homes. Residents share green space, recreation areas and a “common house.” Most importantly, they share a philosophy of participation.
In its ideal form, co-housing is a recipe for balancing personal independence with group interdependence. The model for this arrangement, hatched in Scandinavia in the mid-1980s, has taken root in the US as an alternative lifestyle. It's an interesting group living opportunity for mature individuals precisely because it preserves privacy and independent living but fosters a cooperative, supportive, and available community.
Uh..what was I saying in “I Have a Dream…”? I think I was talking about whaddaya call it?Oh yeah…CO-HOUSING. A type of retirement that is based on combining resources.


Feel like getting depressed today? Check this out:
Research shows that in the next 20 years nearly 43 million households will be entering the retirement phase… This is what is being called baby boomer retirement crisis since retirement income could only give fixed income and this would make it difficult for them to survive through increasing costs….there is a steady decrease in the number of employers who are paying pensions…At this rate even the Social Security Administration is expected to go bankrupt while sustaining the retirees. This could leave the baby boomers in poverty stricken life and it would be the worst time in their life to face such a crisis.

My life as a very average wage earner has taught me that it is just about impossible to keep up with inflation. The money I was going to put into a retirement account just got eaten up by the leaking roof or the dry well. My friend lives in an apartment but her car, the one she was keeping forever to avoid the expense of a new car, got rear ended and left her with a new car payment anyway. Blah blah, you get the picture.
Some days I ask myself, why struggle so hard? I never made enough as a social worker to invest and lose in an unpredictable market. So what do I do?


Psychologists have long known that thoughts determine feelings and result in action. In Cognitive Behavior Therapy, we challenge dysfunctional beliefs and when they are replaced with more functional ones, people change their behavior.
Quite a concept.
I think I am not an old fartette. I still boogie. This of course brings not unfrequent criticism from the “age gracefully” camp. It has been my experience that those who champion these words really mean that people should age invisibly.
Act your age. Look your age. Stop trying to be/look young. My answer:


The other day I talked to a woman a few years older than I in Starbucks (the Temple of Torpor, I love the place!), and she said I was nuts. She said I should just age gracefully and basically, simmer down. She said I was immature. She said second childhoods are ridiculous.

The only bright part of this conversation was that she looks like hell.
Here’s what I think an average life should look like these days:


I do. (Yuk! Retch! Barf!)
It was in my country store in Vermont, that I had bought to escape dearly beloved but fabulously expensive Boston. The kid was a trucker for the Pepsi supplier, so I was going to see him over and over, for a long time.
He was nineteen hoping to live to twenty one and he called me “ma’am.” I told him I would give him a big tip to never call me ma’am again and he said, “I’m sorry, ma’am. I thought at your age, you would want….”
Beats me how that sentence finished. I stopped listening immediately. I was only 45, in top condition, even at the end of a hard day when my heart and liver had sunk into my sneakers I only looked 32, maybe 30 with a hangover. How could I be a “ma’am,” or “at your age?” (Crap!!)
I should mention, the kid was cute. My female staff got all squishy whenever the Pepsi truck rolled up. He had good hair. Thick, curly, long over his ears and neck. Yum. The only trouble was, he was surly. But because I was 45 and not 25, it occurred to me that he might be up tight, rather than just surly. After all, it was a high estrogen stop, our store. All the staff were female, sometimes excessively so.


1. You party in saloons and don’t give a damn what anyone thinks.
You chat up youngstas as well as oldsters and find the youngstas more fun.
You want to buy a Harley.
You buy a Harley.
You grow a beard, because it’s the only hair on you that still grows.
2. You go to the church suppers but you wish at least one of those guys would ride a Harley or something, for heaven’s sake.
Some old dude with a bald head and a bushy beard roars into the local Starbucks on a Harley.
You’re wearing jeans and a T-shirt and no bra. You have always dressed this way.
The old dude has a nice butt. Must be from riding a Harley.
You’ve kept enough meat on your bones that the boobs behave and jiggle like pears on a tree, not socks on a clothesline.
The old dude forgets what coffee he wants.
So you cut in front of him in line.


It’s Not Fair
That we have necks (they give away our age)
That the rich get richer, and the rest of us don’t
That men can pee standing up
That dogs have better smiles than most baby boomers
That plastic surgery is not free
That birds can drop turds on their enemies and I can’t
That booze is not free
That most really fun stuff is illegal
Or immoral
Or not refined
Or why don’t you act your age.
It is Fortunate That:
I don’t give a kr*p what the world thinks of me
I can still dodge the cops on Saturday night
I can still dance
I can still get merry
There is rock and roll
God invented saloons and blue jeans
There are lots of baby boomers just like me
Baby boomers are still cool
Baby boomers rock on
And baby boomers are the ALL THAT generation, bar none.